TIME technology

Occupy Wall Street Activists Suing Ex-Member Over Twitter Account

Occupy Wall Street Activists Mark 2 Year Anniversary Of Movement
Andrew Burton—Getty Images Occupy Wall Street protesters wearing masks made out of enlarged dollar bills act in a short skit in Times Square in New York City on Sept. 17, 2013

Not only is Occupy locked out of the "1%," they now can't even get on Twitter

A group of Occupy activists filed a lawsuit in a Manhattan court Wednesday alleging that one of their ex-members had gone rogue and hijacked the account for himself, locking everyone else out.

The lawsuit says that Adbusters — the Canadian magazine that first called for demonstrators to occupy New York City’s financial spine — opened the @OccupyWallStNYC Twitter account in summer 2011, according to the New York Times.

Adbusters later gave the account to Marisa Holmes, an activist and filmmaker, who apparently shared the account’s password with 14 group members who all tweeted from it.

Or they did until this August, when one activist, Justin Wedes, changed the password.

In blog post soon after the takeover, Wedes said that the relationships among the account’s users — whom he called #TweetBoat — had degenerated over the past few years, into a “dust storm of festering interpersonal conflict.”

That month, he “started to worry about the future of the boat,” wrote Wedes, who has not returned media requests for comment.

“I don’t shy away from currently being the chief steward of this account,” he said, “and my plan is to reinvigorate it again by putting it back in the hands of responsible stewards.”

In a long statement entitled “The Wolf of Occupy Wall Street,” the group excoriated Wedes for using its Twitter account for self-promotion and pulling “a power grab” that “violated our basic principles of organizing within Occupy.”

Occupy — which just celebrated its third birthday on Sept. 17 — said it had asked Wedes in August to cut down on his tweeting from the account, after too many referred to his controversial personal project for water rights in Detroit.

“Throughout our brief history there have been opportunists who would use the name to build their personal careers and benefit financially from their association with Occupy Wall Street,” said the group, adding that it disavows “any connection between this individual and the movement at large.”

The Twitter account has been mostly retweets since Wedes wrested control of it. It has more than 177,000 followers.


Tap to read full story

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com


Dear TIME Reader,

As a regular visitor to TIME.com, we are sure you enjoy all the great journalism created by our editors and reporters. Great journalism has great value, and it costs money to make it. One of the main ways we cover our costs is through advertising.

The use of software that blocks ads limits our ability to provide you with the journalism you enjoy. Consider turning your Ad Blocker off so that we can continue to provide the world class journalism you have become accustomed to.

The TIME Team